Says victims deserve constitutional rights
To the editor:
When someone becomes the victim of a crime, financial hardships often arise. No one asks to become the victim of a crime. However, once they are it can be costly, in more ways than one. Whether it’s medical bills, property damage, lost wages or additional expenses, being a victim can take quite a financial toll on someone. That’s where restitution comes in.
Restitution is a way to recompensate the victim for those financial losses. More than that, restitution also has a restorative justice element. When a sentencing court orders restitution to be paid to the victim, the restitution owed becomes part of the offender’s sentence and must be fully paid as a condition of the sentence.
While the state law in Iowa is quite comprehensive on restitution, unfortunately, that law has no meaningful enforcement mechanism when violations occur. Which is why Iowa crime victims need Marsy’s Law.
Marsy’s Law would put rights for crime victims, like restitution, in our state constitution. This would give victims recourse when a restitution order is being ignored by a defendant. Affording victims constitutionally protected enforcement mechanism creates a system in which every attempt is made to make victims whole.
Becoming the victim of a crime should not be the cause of financial ruin and a victim’s right to restitution is imperative to their overall protection in the criminal justice system.
Humboldt County sheriff